Who wouldn't want prosperity, happiness and good health? Apparently you can have all that for a few hundred Thai Baht if you buy and wear an amulet.
The recent craze throughout Thailand over the Jatukham Ramathep amulets has spawned news headlines, caused stampedes, crime waves and led to an unprecedented tourist boom in Nakhon Si Thammarat where the amulets originated. Each day, ten thousand tourists from around the nation vie for the six thousand available hotel rooms in the southern province.
Even here in the North wherever I go, I see these almost pancake-sized amulets around someone or other's neck.
Prices for these amulets, some of which are made in limited editions and use exotic materials, range from a few hundred Baht to millions of Baht. Naturally, the government, always ready with a hand to put in your pocket, is considering a special tax on the trade.
There are some 250 manufacturers around Thailand making various editions of the amulets many of whom have set up shop at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawiharn a temple where the amulets have to be blessed before they gain their power.
With all the news of this phenomenon, there is surprisingly little mention of the other conditions that need to be met before the amulet can work its magic: wearers are required to refrain from gambling, be honest, kind, hard-working and (I suspect) eat right.
I would think that if one did all that, prosperity, happiness and good health would naturally ensue, and donning the amulet would be pretty much optional.
Thai-language newspapers are brimming with stories of supposed Jatukham related miracles. An interesting read is a translation of two such stories available at Thai-Blogs.com. They relate eyewitness accounts from an actress and a politician who had supposedly, sort of been present when the miracles occured. If you can’t believe an actress and a politician, who can you believe?
This particular newspaper has received millions in Jatukham related advertising in March according to Nielson Media Research.